From education to employment

New Executive Dean to lead Durham University Business School

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Professor Catherine (Cathy) Cassell has been appointed to the position of Executive Dean of Durham University Business School.  She joins the University on 1 September 2022, taking over from Professor Kieran Fernandes, Interim Executive Dean.

Cathy joins Durham from Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham. Since 2017 she has led the School to a successful strategic positioning around responsible business, achievement of maximum triple accreditation for the first time in the School’s history, and an excellent result in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), a UK-wide assessment of university research. 

She brings a depth and breadth of leadership and academic credentials as well as and her vision and passion for building on the substantial successes of the Durham University Business School. Through the School’s triple accreditation with AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS, it is in the top one per cent of business schools globally.

An esteemed leader and academic

Cathy is an experienced, enthusiastic and academically credible higher education leader with a strong track record. She is a Professor of Organisational Psychology and holds Fellowships of the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Academy of Management and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

She has a long history of generating research income and excellent publications alongside her academic leadership roles. She has also been recognised by her students in the past for excellence in teaching and learning and is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE.

Catherine has a significant external profile as a Business School leader. She is a member of the Council of Trustees for the Chartered Association of Business Schools and has served on a number of accreditation panels for the various accrediting bodies, such as AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS.

She has previously been Deputy Director of Alliance Manchester Business School and Deputy Executive Dean of Leeds University Business School.

Building on success

Under Cathy’s leadership, there will be significant opportunities to enhance the Business School’s programme offering and research interests, to build on our leading online and digital platforms, to enhance the physical estate, and to foster partnerships across the globe and with other sectors.

She will also be a champion and advocate for the positive contribution the School and the University make to Durham City, County Durham, the North East of England, and the wider world.

Professor Karen O’Brien, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said:

“Cathy brings a depth and breadth of leadership and academic credentials to the role, with significant experience in senior Business School positions. 

“She has an impressive vision and passion for building on the substantial successes of the Durham University Business School, and we look forward to welcoming her.”

Professor Cathy Cassell said: “I am excited by the global ambition of the University, the excellence of staff and students, and the opportunity to lead a high-profile Business School located in one of the UK’s most beautiful and historic cities. 

“The collegiate nature of the Business School’s community is particularly inspiring, as well as its world-leading research, its educational offer and the important role it plays in Durham City and the wider North East region.” 

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